Friday, June 12, 1998

Two trustees move
to halt questioning

Bishop Estate lawyers
want to know who leaked a
critical accreditation report

By Rick Daysog


Two Bishop Estate trustees today filed for a temporary restraining order to bar the estate's own lawyers from questioning Kamehameha Schools staffers over the release of a highly critical report.

Trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender also asked the probate court for instructions as to whether the estate's inquiry is an abuse of discretion or a breach of trust.

Jervis and Stender said the estate's majority board members -- Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Lokelani Lindsey -- are intimidating staffers and jeopardizing Kamehameha Schools' purpose in their efforts to discover who leaked an accreditation report by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The accreditation report praised faculty members but faulted trustees for "dysfunctional management" and a "perverse application of top-down decision making." Summaries of the report appeared in the local media on March 19.

The association recently gave the schools a three-year accreditation instead of the six that they sought.

"To further investigate the disclosure of the W.A.S.C. report is the same kind of intimidation which, unless stopped, further threatens to alienate the administrators, teachers and students of Kamehameha Schools and jeopardizes the very purpose of Kamehameha Schools," said Jervis and Stender, who previously faulted the "Gestapo approach" of the estate's inquiry.

An estate spokesman could not be reached for comment this morning.

The filing of the restraining order comes as members of the estate's outside law firm were to interview Kamehameha Schools employees this morning about the release of the accreditation report.

On June 2 the estate's board members voted 3-2 to authorize the McCorriston Miho Miller Mukai firm to conduct the inquiry. That vote occurred a day after Jervis halted interviews of three staffers by McCorriston Miho partner Tom Bush.

One staffer whose questioning was already under way when Jervis intervened left the interview in tears.

William McCorriston, partner in the law firm, could not be reached for comment this morning.

In their court papers today, Jervis and Stender faulted the method of the inquiry. Staffers were asked to testify before court reporters but weren't allowed to have an attorney present, they said.

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